The first stop on your visit to Colorado will have to be a visit to the Mile High City, the capital of the state, Denver, a city that has cloud-free skies 300 days a year. The city is awash with museums, including the Denver Art Museum and the mansion that was built for the Unsinkable Molly Brown, a famed survivor of the sinking of the Titanic. It’s also the city that gave John Denver his professional recording name, and there is a nature sanctuary in Colorado’s mountains named for the late folksinger.
Second on your list of important stop-off points involves those skis and snowboards you lugged around on your vacation. Aspen sits nestled in the Rocky Mountains, and in addition to providing a haven for snow play, it features the 1899-vintage Wheeler Opera House, and the Wheeler-Stallard House, which serves as a museum for 19th Century art and technology. More art can be found at the Aspen Art Museum, which features contemporary artworks. A little too tame for you? Aspen attractions also include parasailing and rides in hot air balloons over the soaring landscape.
The vast Rocky Mountain National Park features endless natural vistas. Look for Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road, if you’re traveling by foot, bicycle or car. It’s in the Rocky Mountains that the Continental Divide is located. On one side of the divide, rainwater flows toward the Pacific. On the other, water flows toward the Atlantic. Other alpine wonders include Long’s Peak. If you’re on a camping trip, don’t forget a stop in Goblin Forest. But leave the matches at home. No stoves or fires are allowed in this delicate mountain habitat.
For the real Rocky Mountain High, visit Colorado Springs, a city that looms at an elevation of 6,035 feet. But that’s nothing compared to Pikes Peak, at 14,114 feet above sea level. You can hike to the top for some magnificent scenery or take an antique cog railroad train up and down the mountain. A cog railway consists of a locomotive that rides on tracks with a toothed central rail that helps it up and down steeps slopes. Passengers ride in the car that accompanies the locomotive.
It hardly needs mentioning that Vail resides in Colorado, an upscale place where you can see skiers wearing thousands of dollars in snow gear, but often without a helmet. Vail is really a little town, but it’s a major destination for skiers and snowboarders. Summertime is also a good time to visit Vail, with hiking and golfing amid verdant hills and mountains.
And finally, last but not least on this list, there is the City of Boulder, a picturesque municipality in a valley below the Flatiron Mountains. Boulder is home to the state’s burgeoning high-tech industry, and home to many federal research laboratories. The state’s largest university, the University of Colorado, is also in Boulder. About 97,385 people make their homes in Boulder, according to the most recent census. If you lived through the 1960s, you probably remember that Boulder was a prime destination for hippies.
These are only a few of the highlights Colorado has to offer. Much of the state is an untamed natural wonderland, ready for you to explore.
This is a guest post by Ryan Thomas for Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting. Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting has guided thousands of whitewater rafting trips on Clear Creek and throughout Colorado.
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